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By: Larry Shaffer
This is a sweet lady who I met while on a ministry trip in Swaziland, Africa. She caught my attention because her pink shirt said, “Sarah Palin is my homegirl”. I asked if she knew who Sarah Palin was. She did not but said she picked the shirt because of the color. If you click on the blog link and scroll down you can see the full picture.
Rebellion and Deliverance
This is an amazing Psalm of repentance that exalts the lovingkindness of God to forgive and save. I’m fortunate that I tend to live in a conciousness of grace. It’s a good place to be. I didn’t grow up in a religion of guilt and legalism requiring penance (voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong). So, I always lean toward grace and enjoy the comfort that I’m always forgiven. Perhaps even taking it for granted.
The ups and downs
But this psalm reminds me that my Christian life has been a life of ups and downs intermingled with arrogance, self-reliance, lust and rebellion. This psalm recounts with detail the history of Israel and their recurring rebellion resulting in God’s anger. But it is always followed with forgiveness and love. What a pattern! From the time of Moses to Jeremiah, the psalmist recounts the stories of Israel’s arrogance, lust and rebellion: “our fathers in Egypt did not understand your wonders” – “they rebelled by the sea” – “they quickly forgot His works” – “they provoked Him to anger” – “they mingled with the nations and learned their practices and served their idols” – “they shed innocent blood” – “they played the harlot in their deeds”. This was their pattern. But this is my life as well. Just as the psalmist said, “we have sinned just like our fathers,” v6. But every time, although God burned in His anger toward them, in His lovingkindness toward them, HE FORGAVE. “He looked upon their distress and HE REMEMBERED HIS COVENANT FOR THEIR SAKE, and He relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness. They deserved to be objects of wrath but instead He made them objects of compassions,” vs44-46.
It’s all relative
I live continuously under the covenant of grace despite my life of sin. Most people that know me would not describe my life as a ‘life of sin’. They tend to think of me as a good and moral person. But any action, thought or intent that falls short of the glory of God is sin. To realize and acknowledge this, as in Psalms 106, is to realize with greater intensity the amazing grace of God toward me. Grace that I no longer want to take for granted. Vs 48 closes the Psalm “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. And let all the people say ‘Amen’. Praise the Lord!”
How am I to live today? Do not allow me Lord to foolishly consider myself “relatively” better than most people. How silly. What does perceiving myself as better than others really do? The Pharisee said, “I’m glad I’m better than the tax collector.” Big deal. It meant nothing. The tax collector said, “forgive me, I’m a sinner.” That meant something. The tax collector’s words from a heart of faith triggered the unfathomable grace and kindness of God. I’m not re-saved every time I say forgive me, but I am renewed and reminded of His abundant grace and lovingkindness toward me! Lord, thank you for your lovingkindness and grace!